The holy martyr Lawrence was Archdeacon of Pope Sixtus, and they suffered together in the year 258 during the reign of the emperor Valerian (253-260). When St. Sixtus was arrested, he entrusted the treasures of the church with St. Lawrence to distribute to the poor. He went around the city on foot, helping clergy and impoverished Christians who were in hiding. When Valerian heard of these treasures, he had Lawrence brought before him, and demanded Lawrence give them to him. Instead of earthly treasure, Lawrence brought the emperor the poor, saying, “Behold the treasures of the Church.” He was thrown in prison, suffered many tortures, and received the unfading crown of martyrdom through fire.
Your martyr Lawrence, O Lord our God, in his struggle received an incorruptible crown from You. With Your strength, he brought down the tyrants and broke the cowardly valor of demons. Through his prayers, O Christ our God, save our souls.
Inflaming your heart with heavenly fire, you turned the fires of passion into cold ashes. O God-bearing martyr Lawrence, strength of martyrs, amid all your sufferings you cried out: Nothing shall separate me from the love of Christ.
2 Corinthians 4: 1-6
Brothers and sisters: Because we possess this ministry through God’s mercy, we do not give in to discouragement. Rather, we repudiate shameful, underhanded practices. We do not resort to trickery or falsify the word of God. We proclaim the truth openly and commend ourselves to every man’s conscience before God. If our gospel can be called “veiled” in any sense, it is such only for those who are headed toward destruction. Their unbelieving minds have been blinded by the god of the present age so that they do not see the splendor of the gospel showing forth the glory of Christ, the image of God. It is not ourselves we preach but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts, that we in turn might make known the glory of God shining on the face of Christ.
Matthew 24: 13-28
The Lord said to his disciples: “The man who holds out to the end is the one who will see salvation. This good news of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the world as a witness to all the nations. Only after that will the end come.
“When you see the abominable and destructive thing which the prophet Daniel foretold standing on the holy ground (let the reader take note!), those in Judea must flee to the mountains. If a man is on the roof terrace, he must not come down to get anything out of his house. If a man is in the field, he must not turn back to pick up his cloak. It will be hard on pregnant or nursing mothers in those days. Keep praying that you will not have to flee in winter or on a sabbath, for those days will be more filled with anguish than any from the beginning of the world until now or in all ages to come. Indeed, if the period had not been shortened, not a human being would be saved. For the sake of the chosen, however, the days will be shortened. If anyone tells you at that time, ‘Look, the Messiah is here,’ or ‘He is there,’ do not believe it. False messiahs and false prophets will appear, performing signs and wonders so great as to mislead even the chosen if that were possible. Remember, I have told you all about it beforehand; so if they tell you, ‘Look, he is in the desert,’ do not go out there; or ‘He is in the innermost rooms,’ do not believe it. As the lightning from the east flashes to the west, so will the coming of the Son of Man be. Where the carcass lies, there the vultures gather.”
Icon courtesy of Jack Figel, Eastern Christian Publications – ecpubs.com
Wednesday, August 9 –